On today’s episode of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael spoke with his friend and architect, Mark LePage, on how developing good business skills goes hand in hand with launching an architecture firm.
Architect Mark LePage
On today’s episode of Young Architect, Michael chatted with his friend, EntreArchitect podcast host, and architect, Mark LePage, about the importance of having good business skills to start your own firm.
Having experienced the ups and downs of the world of business as an architect, Mark’s mission is to help other architects become better at business through his website, EntreArchitect.
Mark attended Roger Williams University and graduated in 1993 during the recession. As you can imagine, finding a job was difficult during that time, but Mark never stopped trying to find one. It was Mark’s good spirits that led him to do an internship after completing a summer job as a measurer for condominiums in an existing conditions project.
Measuring condominiums wasn’t the most interesting job, but Mark always went to work with a good attitude and enthusiasm. One of Mark’s key qualities is his ability to always stay positive. His personal mantra, “love, learn, and share” certainly helps him find success.
Ever since that internship, Mark’s career has grown due to his efforts, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit. After gaining more experience, Mark finally reached his goal to start his own company, The Construction Documents Company as an existing conditions consultant for other firms.
Together with his wife, Annmarie, they eventually launched the Annmarie McCarthy, Architect firm. Together, they worked on small residential and restaurant projects. Later on, they would launch their next firm, Fivecat Studio Architecture.
Mark is also the creator the EntreArchitect Academy. Since relaunch of the EntreArchitect website in 2012, Mark’s blog, podcast, and teaching resources been consistently helping small architecture firms become better at business.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- How Michael discovered Mark LePage’s blog and podcast while he was studying for his AREs.
- Mark’s experience graduating during a recession and the difficulties he faced with finding a job.
- How a unique resume that included a brochure helped Mark land his first architecture job.
- How a good attitude helped Mark to go from a summer job to a full internship at an architecture firm.
- How Mark got his interest in entrepreneurship from flipping cars.
- How Mark’s career grew by taking on different roles and tasks with a good attitude.
- The beginning of Mark’s own company, The Construction Documents Company.
- Mark and his wife’s business relationship when she launched her own company, Annmarie McCarthy, Architect.
- The experience of a client deciding that they weren’t going to continue to have Mark and Annmarie work on a major project nor would they pay them their fair share for the job.
- The importance of being positive throughout your entire career.
- When their company was at a plateau, Mark realized that he needed to improve his business skills so he enrolled in a class, “The Academy of Entrepreneurial Excellence.”
- The moment that Mark and Annmarie recognized their niche market and decided their firm need to focus on doing home renovation projects.
- The start and relaunch of the EntreArchitect blog and podcast.
- How the EntreArchitect Academy is providing architects with resources to become better business people.
- Why Monday morning is Mark’s time for his personal meeting with himself. Why Monday is so important of him to focus on scheduling his week.
Key Takeaways From This Episode with Mark LePage
- Really take the time to learn about business before you launch your own. You don’t to become an expert, but you should know the basics about marketing, finance, accounting, and management.
- Even if a job or task is boring, do it with enthusiasm and excitement. A good attitude is really important for any job. It can help you get promoted and considered for even more important tasks in the future.
- If you lose out on a project, don’t take it too hard. Stay positive because the next best project or opportunity is just around the corner.
Mark LePage’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“Learn about business. Don’t start a business unless you know how to run a business. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should know the fundamentals.”
“Love, learn, and share is my mantra. Those are the three things that you need in life. This mantra is bigger than architecture and it will help you succeed in both architecture and business. It will help you succeed in life. It will help you get through this world that we’re living in right now. It will get you through all of the stress that we’re experiencing from all of the conflict that we’re seeing around us. Just love, learn, and share.”
“I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that you just need to roll with it. You just need to have faith, live with certainty, and just know that it’s all going to work out. That’s always worked for me. Whenever things have gotten tough, whenever we’ve struggled, I just kept going. I just focused on moving forward and it’s always worked out.” – Mark LePage on the importance of having good faith and being positive during difficult times.
“Networking for architects is huge because you just never know where that next big project is going to come from.” – Mark LePage on the power of networking.
“Like many architects, our biggest business problem was that we were not selling. We didn’t know how to sell, we didn’t want to sell, and we didn’t want to be that sleazy salesperson. But once we put together a sales system and we understood what sales were and how they worked, we started growing again.” – Mark LePage on the importance of understanding how to properly run a business to help your brand grow.
“As architects, we should be sharing our knowledge. We should not be hoarding it. We should be sharing everything we know because if we share everything that we know, then everybody else will share what they know and we’ll all grow together. The profession will also grow. We’ll all be making more money and the profession will become more influential and the world will benefit from that.” – Mark LePage on the power of sharing information throughout the architecture community.
Resources Mentioned in the Show
- Visit the official Fivecat Studio Architecture website
- Check out the official EntreArchitect website
- Read the EntreArchitect Blog
- Listen to the EntreArchitect Podcast
- Learn about business with the EntreArchitect Academy
- Connect with Mark LePage:
- Listen to the EntreArchitect Podcast episode no. 132 with Michael Riscica: Cycling, Licensing, and How to Pass the Architect Registration Exam
- Learn more about the mantra, “love, learn, and share,” with the EntreArchitect Podcast episode no. 143: 3 Steps to Happiness as a Small Firm Architect
- Check out Roger Williams University
- Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
- Get your own copy of The One Thing by Gary Keller
- Download the Slack app
- You can also listen to this podcast on YouTube by clicking here!
If you enjoyed this podcast, you should also check out:
- Organizations Who Support Emerging Professionals and Young Architects
- Advocacy In Architecture with Stephen Parker
- Stop Waiting For Things To Happen, Just Start Now! with Eric Corey Freed
- Networking, Sketching the ARE and Being Awesome with Lora Teagarden
- Podcast: Dear Future Young Architects… Please Quit Screwing Around!?!!!
- Kickstarting Your Architecture Career with Alex Alaimo
- Architecture Marketing and Story Telling With Jeff Echols
- Expanding Your Knowledge through CSI and CDT with Cherise Lakeside
- Steve Ramos – The Architect As A Public Figure
- Doug Patt: Teaching Design and Architecture on YouTube!
- Let’s Fix Mentorship
- Set Yourself Apart
- Let’s Talk About Attending Conferences!
- John Maternoski: Building the Design Community
- Bridging Generational Gaps within the Practice of Architecture
- Review of The EntreArchitect Academy
- Dear Future Young Architects… Please Quit Screwing Around!?!!!